The shopping list compiled by the Orioles every winter always includes left-handed relievers. There’s a steady search for a specialist who can compete for a job in spring training.
Richard Bleier gave them more than matchups this season after executive vice president Dan Duquette pulled off a Feb. 21 trade with the Yankees. He offered up a 1.99 ERA in 63 1/3 innings.
Bleier would seem to be a lock to break camp with the Orioles in 2018 as a second lefty along with closer Zach Britton, but Donnie Hart rode the Norfolk shuttle this year while registering a 3.71 ERA in 51 games, his WHIP increasing from 0.982 in 18 1/3 innings last season to 1.397 in 43 2/3 innings. He needs to re-establish his value in the organization.
Agents are examining the Orioles’ 40-man roster to find potential fits for their lefty clients on major league or minor league deals. I had a brief exchange with one earlier this week.
Here’s the list of free agent left-handed relievers (age in parentheses), courtesy of MLBTradeRumors.com:
Fernando Abad (32)
Craig Breslow (37)
Jorge De La Rosa (37)
Brian Duensing (35)
Zach Duke (35)
Josh Edgin (31)
David Holmberg (26)
Ian Krol (27)
Francisco Liriano (34)
Boone Logan (33)
Jake McGee (31)
Mike Minor (30)
Eric O’Flaherty (33)
Oliver Pérez (36)
Glen Perkins (35)
Robbie Ross (29)
Kevin Siegrist (28)
Tony Watson (32)
The Orioles signed Wesley Wright to a one-year, $1.7 million deal in December 2014 and released him in July after only two appearances, a shoulder injury ruining his season. Brian Duensing appeared in 14 games in 2016 and underwent surgery to remove loose cartilage chips in his left elbow. Ashur Tolliver got into five games and was lost to the Angels on a waiver claim that chafed some members of the organization, though he later was selected and released by the Astros.
Jed Bradley appeared in seven games with Double-A Bowie this year and one game with Triple-A Norfolk and retired. Lucas Luetge, who’s held left-handers to a .209 average in parts of four major league seasons, was signed to a minor league deal in June and lasted four games before going on the disabled list with a sprained elbow. He’s now a free agent.
Edgar Olmos, Zach Phillips, Andy Oliver, Cesar Cabral, Tom Gorzelanny, Chris Jones, Dana Eveland, Patrick McCoy, Nick Additon, Clay Rapada, Andy Loomis, Daniel Schlereth, J.C. Romero, Mike Ballard, Cole McCurry, Alberto Castillo, Nick Bierbrodt. The list goes on and on.
Mark Hendrickson is too busy as short-season Single-A Aberdeen’s pitching coach to make another comeback. No one has heard from Troy Patton in years.
It’s too late to rewind on Andrew Miller and begin negotiations.
Brian Matusz, the fourth overall pick in 2008, is included among the current group of minor league free agents. The Diamondbacks released him in May and he didn’t pitch in the majors this year, but he’s held left-handers to a .213 average and another team figures to give him a chance.
It won’t be the Orioles, but they’re certainly in the market for a left-handed reliever.
Tanner Scott could fill the role if the Orioles stop working him as a starter. The development of his slider is encouraging. But he’s still got to throw strikes consistently before the Orioles can trust him.
* None of the Orioles were awarded Silver Sluggers last night, with the announcements coming on MLB Network.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop had the numbers, but this is Jose Altuve’s year. Third baseman Manny Machado wasn’t considered one of the five “notables” by MLB Network. The Indians’ José Ramírez took the award.
Catcher Welington Castillo was mentioned, but the Yankees’ Gary Sánchez won it.
Here are the 2017 Silver Slugger winners as voted upon by managers and coaches:
American League: Aaron Judge (Yankees), Justin Upton (Angels), George Springer (Astros)
National League: Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins), Marcell Ozuna (Marlins), Charlie Blackmon (Rockies)
American League: Eric Hosmer (Royals)
National League: Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks)
American League: Jose Altuve (Astros)
National League: Daniel Murphy (Nationals)
American League: Francisco Lindor (Indians)
National League: Corey Seager (Dodgers)
American League: José Ramírez (Indians)
National League: Nolan Arenado (Rockies)
American League: Gary Sánchez (Yankees)
National League: Buster Posey (Giants)
Nelson Cruz (Mariners)
Adam Wainwright (Cardinals)